SUMMARIZED GUIDELINES ON OPEN, DISTANCE AND e-LEARNING IN TVET
Open, distance and e-learning (ODeL) as a mode of increasing access to education has grown in leaps and bounds ever since the advent of correspondence distance education of the early 17th century, where, distance education was conducted by postal services without face-to-face interaction between the teacher and learner. While the target group for correspondence distance education was largely women and persons who had been traditionally left out of the formal education process, ODeL, as known today largely targets learners who already have past learning experiences, especially formal basic education. ODeL has also increasingly gained acceptance world over as the need for life-long, flexible learning continues to grow. Additionally, with unprecedented challenges such as limited/restricted movements of trainees and trainers, ODeL comes in handy as means of ensuring that education and training continues, limitations of movement of persons notwithstanding.
However, the use of ODeL as a means of ensuring access to education and training not only requires a careful exploitation of digital technologies, a deep understanding of training and learning and expertise of trainers, but, above all, it requires regulation to the extent that both the institution offering ODeL and the programmes/curricular being offered are accredited. Regulation ensures both quality and relevance of the training being offered.
Towards this end, TVETA supported by stakeholders developed ODeL standards and guidelines that shall be followed by any Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institution that wishes to offer training through ODeL. The standard and guidelines was gazetted in 2019 and is available to all TVET institutions that aspire to offer ODeL upon payment of the prescribed fee of Kshs 2,570 . TVETA encourages as many TVET institutions as possible to start offering ODeL programmes as a means of not only ensuring increased access to TVET but also a way of overcoming challenges of face-to-face instructional training occasioned by limited physical interactions between the trainees and trainers.
Some key highlights of the requirements for a TVET institution to offer ODeL based on the standard and guideline include:
The ODeL centre shall show evidence that an appropriate needs assessment or feasibility assessment has been undertaken giving the rationale or justification for setting up the institution or starting the programme as reflected in the beliefs and core values of the institution.
Vision and Mission Statements
The ODeL centre shall have clearly stated vision and mission consistent with its beliefs and core values and make it known to its constituents.
Accreditation of the ODeL Centre and Programmes
ODeL centres shall ensure that the quality of the TVET CBET Programmes offered through ODeL and those offered through face-to-face are comparable and accredited by TVETA.
Institutional Budget and Policy
The ODeL Centre shall have budgetary provisions for the programme to ensure its sustainability and this shall be reflected in the financial policy statements.
Objectives and Strategies of the Provider
The ODeL Centre shall have clearly stated objectives and strategies for achieving its mission.
Governance and Administration
The ODeL Centre shall ensure that there are clear governance and administrative structures that involve stakeholders, where appropriate.
The ODeL learning centres shall make available basic services and facilities. The learning centres shall be accredited by the Authority. See the details requirements in the TVETS 05:2019 Standard
The ODeL Centre may enter into collaborative arrangements for delivery of open, distance and e- learning.
Mode of Delivery
The ODeL Centre shall specify the media that is to be used for basic delivery of the programme and support to the trainees. See the details requirements in the TVETS 05:2019 Standard
Learning Management System
The ODeL Centre shall provide an interactive learning management system that effectively supports e-learning. See the details requirements in the TVETS 05:2019 Standard
Institutional, Technical and ICT Support Infrastructure
The ODeL Centre shall ensure availability and adequacy of technical, and ICT infrastructure and appropriate technical support staff for the infrastructure. See the details requirements in the TVETS 05:2019 Standard
Institutional Organizational Structure
The ODeL Centre shall put in place internal organizational structures to facilitate the development, coordination, support, and management of electronically offered programmes.
Preparation of Course Materials
For each media of instruction, the ODeL Centre shall have in place a clear process of preparation of course materials and orientation to ensure quality material is “fit for purpose”.
Curriculum development and Implementation
Where the ODeL centre fall under the category of National Polytechnic, the curriculum development and implementation shall be as provided in the National Polytechnic CBET programme development standards and detailed in CBETA Standards. For other categories of institutions, they shall implement already developed programmes from recognized curriculum development and assessment bodies.
Institutional Policies on Staff
ODeL Centre shall have appropriate policies that ensure recruitment of adequate number of professionally qualified staff to administer and manage the programme.
Self-Learning Materials (SLMs)
ODeL Centre shall ensure availability of self-learning materials to suit trainees’ needs.
Pre-testing or Piloting Learning Materials
ODeL Centre shall have in place mechanisms for pre-testing or piloting the learning materials to establish that they are at the learner’s level and that the learners will use them without difficulties, and finally be able to achieve the objectives or intended learning outcomes.
Review of Curriculum and Learning Materials
For ODeL centers which are established within National polytechnics shall put in place mechanisms for regular review of both the curriculum and learning materials by peers and experts.
Duration and structures of TVET CBET Programmes
ODeL Centre shall ensure that there is flexibility in the programme structures and duration.
Residential sessions and Assessment Requirements
ODeL Centre shall need to organize face to face practical sessions and assessments .
NB: These are just some of the key highlights of the requirements for ODeL and should not be used alone without reading and applying the requirements of the entire TVETS 05:2019 standard and guideline.